Wednesday, July 14, 2010

TLC Book Review: 'The Murderer's Daughters' by Randy Susan Meyers

Author: Randy Susan Meyers
Published: January 2010, St. Martin's Press
Pages: 310
Genre: Fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours
Synopsis from TLC:
Lulu and Merry’s childhood was never ideal, but on the day before Lulu’s tenth birthday their father drives them into a nightmare. He’s always hungered for the love of the girl’s self-obsessed mother. After she throws him out, their troubles turn deadly.
Lulu’s mother warned her to never let him in, but when he shows up, he’s impossible to ignore. He bullies his way past ten-year-old Lulu, who obeys her father’s instructions to open the door, then listens in horror as her parents struggle. She runs for help and discovers upon her return that he’s murdered her mother, stabbed her sister, and tried to kill himself.
For thirty years, the sisters try to make sense of what happened. Their imprisoned father is a specter in both their lives, shadowing every choice they make. Though one spends her life pretending he’s dead, while the other feels compelled to help him, both fear that someday their imprisoned father’s attempts to win parole may meet success.

My Thoughts:
Randy Susan Meyers has crafted a world that pulls you in page by page and will not give you up until the very last word. Once I started this book I had a hard time putting it down. I was horrified by what Lulu and Merry had to live through, not only the murder of their mother, but then the total abandonment by their aunt and uncle to a girl's home. Each girl has to learn how to survive and to just get by one more day. Their coping mechanisms aren't always healthy and as adults, they will have to learn how to accept and heal from their past trauma. I loved how Meyers gave us a glimpse into each girl's life. I could so picture Merry and Lulu, as children and as adults. I found it fascinating how each one went into a career of helping others, yet they never gave themselves the attention and love that they offered others. This book truly made me stop and think about the children that are affected by the murder of a parent at the hands of the other parent. I believe that this novel would make a fantastic book club selection as there is plenty to talk about, especially the narcissistic father Victor. I really had a hard time with this character. I still don't believe that he was truly sorry for what he did. He never really showed any sympathy to Merry, nor did he apologize to the girls for killing their mother. Yet Merry went to see him about guilt tripping your child.

Perfect example from book:

  "You think I'm a monster, Doc. Maybe I was." Daddy paused. "Yeah, I guess I was the worst kind of monster. But I was drunk and heartbroken. You think that doesn't excuse me, but I'm paying my dues."
  Doctor Cohen leaned in and spoke quietly.  "It seems your girls are paying those dues as much as you."
  "I guess it looks that way to someone like you, but from where I'm sitting, it looks like they're doing okay. They have you, right? From what Merry writes, your wife is a real doll." My father took off his glasses. His eyes reminded me of Grandma's. "The girls are getting good marks in school. Lulu is going to college."
  "But they don't have parents do they?" Doctor Cohen said. "Nothing makes up for losing a mother."
  "My girls have me. Their father."
  "Hardly," Doctor Cohen said.
  "I love my girls." Daddy's eyes narrowed. "And Merry looks out for me. She always will. right, Merry?"
  I held my breath and closed my eyes, wishing I were far away. Then I opened them. "Right, Daddy."

After I finished reading this book, I sat there for a while thinking of the lives that Lulu and Merry might have lived if their mother wasn't murdered. And then I wondered, how many Lulu's and Merry's are there in the world and my heart felt heavy.

Highly Recommended

Thank you to TLC for asking me to be a part of this book tour.
Check out the other tour stops HERE.

About Randy

The dark drama of Randy Susan Meyers’ debut novel is informed by her years of work with batterers, domestic violence victims, and at-risk youth impacted by family violence.

Randy Susan Meyers’ short stories have been published in the Fog City Review, Perigee: Publication for the Arts, and the Grub Street Free Press.

In Brooklyn, where Randy was born and raised, her local library was close enough to visit daily and she walked there from the time she figured out the route. In many ways, she was raised by books, each adding to her sense of who she could be in this world. Some marked her for horror. Reading In Cold Blood at too tender an age assured that she’d never stay alone in a country house. Others, like Heidi by Johanna Spyri, made her worship her grandfather even more.
Some taught her faith in the future.

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith was the only bible Randy ever owned, her personal talisman of hopefulness. Each time she read it, she was struck anew by how this author knew so much and dared to write it.

Randy now lives in Boston with her husband and is the mother of two grown daughters. She teaches writing seminars at the Grub Street Writers’ Center in Boston.
She is also on Facebook: and Twitter:


  1. Girllllllllllll...I have BEEN waiting for this review...I JUST knew it would be good!! I soooooooooo need to read this!!! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

  2. sounds like a book that touches your heart, nice review

  3. Again a sad and thoughtful book, one if I read it I would surely want to discuss it

  4. This book stayed in my mind long after I read it.

    Here is my W book!

  5. Sometimes the books with the most difficult subject matter are the ones that leave an imprint on our heart. Loved your review Staci, another book on my wishlist.

  6. Sounds like a great book about a heartbreaking situation. Nice review, Staci.

  7. Wow, great review. This was already on my wishlist, but you've made me even more eager to read it. Looks like it definitely leaves you with your eyes wide open to the plight of the innocent.

  8. I too thought this book was pretty great and although it deals with sensitive and difficult subject matter, it was very well-written. I agree that it would make a perfect book club selection!

  9. i had my eye on this book, but i wasn't sure if i should get it or not.

    i'm so glad to see that you enjoyed the book so much! i'm definitely adding it to my wishlist now. thanks for the review!!

  10. That quote from the book makes me so angry at the father! One of my friends from high school had something similar happen in her family before we started going to school together. She didn't talk about it much, and it was a topic our circle of friends avoided because we didn't want to upset her.

  11. I see what you mean with the quote you gave us. I feel very drawn in to the story.

  12. I can't imagine having to live with the situation of one parent killing another! It sounds really interesting to find out how it was treated.

  13. wow that's high praise. I haven't heard of this book, but it sounds like a good book club selection.

  14. I've got this one here, but I've put it off for a while as I knew that it would be an emotional read. From what I've read and the quote you shared (wow, Staci!), I think I will have to be a little more emotionally settled. Is it possible to hate a character? Really hate them. I'm already halfway there with that father.

    OK, I love the cover. It's very poignant. I'm looking forward to reading this and am glad that it touched your heart so deeply. Yes, I can see how it would make you wonder about the children that suffer this tragedy in real life. sigh.

  15. Great review Staci! I have wanted to read this for ages!

  16. I just love the premise of this book, and I was hoping that the writing would live up to the expectation. Thanks so much for a wonderful review - I will now add it to the TBR list for sure!

  17. Just dropping by to say thank you all for your very kind words. Lulu and Merry owned my heart while writing this book (and this still do.) Warmest regards, Randy

  18. After having finished one depressing book, I think I'll wait to read this one until later. Fabulous review, Staci.

  19. What an interesting premise for a story. It's hard to say you enjoy a book like this, but I really do like to read books about difficult subjects, because they make me think.

  20. This sounds like an intensely emotional book. I enjoyed reading about the authors background, thanks for sharing that.

  21. This sounds like quite a gripping book. I'll look out for it, thanks.

  22. Oh this sounds like a good one. That passage you included just grabbed my heart. Poor girl. Thanksa for the excellent review Staci!

  23. This book sounds amazing, frightening, able to make me angry and very much worth reading. When I was a prosecutor, I spent my first 6 months in the Domestic Violence's an experience I'll never forget.

    Thank you for a great review.

  24. Sounds like a very emotional read. I'll keep this one in mind.

  25. I had this book on my TBR list for months and this is the first review I have read - I'm so glad to hear it's this good.

  26. This is up next and I can't wait to read it now. Thanks for your wondeful review.

  27. I'm sad to say my husband and I have fallen into a tight spot financially and I can only afford to trade in my read books for used ones but can't afford any new ones right now, and not being able to get this one has been killing me! Your review makes it sound so great... I can't wait to get my hands on it!

  28. Thanks for your great review, Staci. I have been considering reading this one but hadn't quite made up my mind on it. I think I'll add it to my wish list for sure now. It's such a difficult topic--not to mention emotionally wrenching for children put in this situation.

  29. I can't wait to read this one now!

  30. “And then I wondered, how many Lulu's and Merry's are there in the world and my heart felt heavy.” That is exactly how I feel every time I read a review of this book. The world is full of people like those children and yet we as a society basically ignore them except for around Christmas when many people participate in an Angel Tree Project.

    This sounds like an amazing book. Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  31. I wondered about this one. Sounds good.


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